This image shows Debussy crater, named for the impressionist-era French composer Claude Debussy. The impact crater's rim is 80 km in diameter, and the bright crater rays extend for hundreds of kilometers. The object that impacted the surface to form this crater was probably between 4 and 8 km in diameter.
This image was taken with MESSENGER's Wide Angle Camera (WAC) using the 997-nm filter, one of the 12 filters available for use with the WAC. The WAC is a refracting telescope with a focal length of 78 mm, a field of view of 10.5°, and a collecting area (entrance pupil aperture) of 48 mm2. The detector located on the focal plane is a 1024 x 1024 pixel (1 megapixel) CCD. The filters, which reside on a rotating wheel, range in wavelength from 430 nm to 1040 nm (visible through near-infrared) and include a broadband filter for optical navigation imaging of stars.
On March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011, UTC), MESSENGER became the first spacecraft ever to orbit the
planet Mercury. The mission is currently in its commissioning phase, during which spacecraft and instrument
performance are verified through a series of specially designed checkout activities. In the course of the one-year
primary mission, the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation will unravel the history and
evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this
website to learn more about the science questions that the MESSENGER mission has set out to answer.
Date Acquired: March 30, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 209886978
Image ID: 65083
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC Filter: 9 (996 nanometers wavelength)
Center Latitude: -29.7°
Center Longitude: 14.5° E
Resolution: 2 kilometers/pixel (1.2 miles/pixel)
Scale: Debussy has a diameter of 80 kilometers (50 miles)
These images are from MESSENGER, a NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study of the innermost planet, Mercury. For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.